Beats By Dre – Olympics Takeover

During the Olympics, you might have noticed that athletes from some 20 countries all had a curious thing in common: They were #spotted wearing Beats by Dr. Dre. The colorful, curvilinear headphones weren’t one of the brands that plunked down $100 million to be an official sponsor, but that didn’t stop Beats.

A small #BeatsArmy marketing team kept the Beats social media machinery well oiled, pumping out a seemingly endless stream of tweets, Facebook posts and videos.

The team also encouraged the online fans to spot any celebrities, music artists, and athletes with Beats Headphones to take a photo and to share it by tagging @beatsbydre and with the hashtag #BEATSSPOTTED.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has very stringent rules when it comes to advertising and sponsors.  There are 11 international companies that pay around US$100 million each for 4 years of global marketing rights to sponsor the Olympics.  Athletes are not allowed to take part in any marketing or advertising campaigns that are not inclusive of the 11 approved sponsors.  And according to Rule 40 if they do promote their own sponsors the IOC can disqualify them.

But our team took advantage of the long history of athletes wearing headphones since the invention of the portable Walkman back in the 70s.  The marketing team especially knew that it would not be surprising to see many Olympians wearing Beats By Dre headphones since Beats had a 53% market share at the time.

With the use of flagged headphones that were already being worn, we created a global marketing campaign that resonated with consumers and gave unprecedented visibility to the brand at a fraction of the cost.  As a result, Beats’ revenue reportedly hit $1 billion in 2012, up from $200 million in 2010.